Bethany Curve are from Santa Cruz, California. That makes me
think of frentically paced guitars played by spikey haired tan
boys. And indeed, Bethany Curve are a guitar based band. And
indeed, in the photos on their
website at least one member is a spikey haired boy.
But they ain't no Green Day
Bethany Curve instead remind me more of the music that came
out of the British Isles in the late 80's and early 90's. It's
slow music with meandering washes of guitar sound. And there
is a certain coldness to it. Not the coldness of music from
a snow-covered clime, but the coldness of people who live most
of their lives inside air-conditioned buildings. The coldness
of the South (and, presumably, Southern California) in the summer,
when it's 105º F outside, but 75º F inside. You go
inside, covered in sweat, and need to put on a long sleeved
shirt for a few minutes while your body adjusts to the temperature
change.... That's what this music makes me think of.
Of course, i am a southerner who considers our summers oppressive.
It's like winter for people who live in the frozen states: you
have to psyche yourself up to leave the building, because it's
going to be freaking miserable out there! Naturally, i spend
the bulk of my summers inside, only to go out for brief spurts
of intense sweating. It's a reflective time for me: sitting
inside with the blinds half open, the powerful sun beating down
on me, the air-conditioner straining, and no one around but
my cats, who lie panting.
Bethany Curve's music reminds me of all of that: the pleasant
isolation of the air-conditioned world, while terror (in the
form of heat, or whatever bothers you) lies just outside the
door. It's music that describes a comfortable space, but hints
that there is something worse just waiting....
It's really nice music to just sit and listen to -- just wandering
guitar textures and vague vocals. The vocals are interesting:
vaguely gothy (in that they remind me of early Modern English),
vaguely sleepy (slow paced), and vaguely blurry (buried under
the guitar textures).
This is their fourth album, and it is the second Bethany Curve
album that i have obtained. Their previous album, Gold
was much like this album. Oh sure, there are slight differences,
but for the most part Bethany Curve have their style nailed
down, and they continue to explore that territory.
There are a few standout tracks on this disc. Summer Left
Me features acoustic guitar over sparse and slower than
usual vocals in a way that reminds me of Rainbird by
Love And Rockets. It's a nice effect, and is a pleasant break
from the otherwise constant electric guitar drones that make
up the rest of their work. As to the electric guitar parts,
i especially like I'm Tired Gone, which pairs the washed
out guitar textures with nice insistent drumming, and Ann
Illusion , which sounds almost as if there are horns droning
in the background.
Those are both pleasant songs, and this is a good album in
the distinctive Bethany Curve style. However, well, if you are
just getting into Bethany Curve i would recommend Gold
first. You see, their best song, hands down, is called Pool
And The Shine and is on that disc. It's the height of their
mastery of intertwining guitar tones, and is qutie stunning.
Nothing on You Brought Us Here equals the majesty
of that song. So start there.
However, if you have listened to Bethany Curve and find their
music enjoyable, then you will consider this album a wonderful
addition to their catalog.